Hello, Springfield!

By Brant Skogrand, APR, MBC 

Joe Cohen at 2014 Midwest District Conference

Joe Cohen, APR, the national chair of PRSA, discussed PRSA’s strategic plan, the evolving role of public relations professionals, and the “seven deadly sins of PR.”

Approximately 200 public relations practitioners recently converged in Springfield, Mo., for this year’s PRSA Midwest District Conference. While storms in the Chicago area delayed those flying through O’Hare Airport, travelers persisted and were rewarded with excellent learning and networking opportunities.

The conference, with a tagline of “Firm Foundations/New Horizons,” featured three keynotes:

  • Minnesota’s James Lukaszewski, ABC, APR, Fellow PRSA, spoke on “Gaining Influence: How to Have a More Important, Powerful, Influential and Fulfilling Career.”
  • Joe Cohen, APR, the national chair of PRSA, discussed PRSA’s strategic plan, the evolving role of public relations professionals, and the “seven deadly sins of PR.”
  • Missy Maher of Edelman shared her insights on marketing to the modern family. 

More than 25 breakout sessions provided plenty of choices for attendees. Topics ranged from content marketing to social media measurement to chocolate addiction and beyond.
Approximately 20 PRSA members either already involved or interested in PRSA leadership participated in the conference’s QuickStart session. They learned how to focus their leadership qualities for chapter success from Regina Waters, Ph.D., of Drury University, who discussed best practices from around the Midwest District and heard from Cohen on the role of PRSA National.

Brian Lee at 2014 Midwest District Conference

Brian Lee, APR, instructs attendees how to measure and analyze social media efforts.

While a printed program provided an overview of the conference, attendees also were able to download the Guidebook app to create a personalized schedule and be updated about schedule changes on the fly. The app proved its use when two sessions were scratched due to the cancellation of the speaker’s flight from Chicago. 

In addition to networking opportunities throughout the day, attendees hit downtown Springfield for dinner at a restaurant of their choice and ended the evening with a gathering at Springfield Brewing Company.

The annual Midwest District Platinum Award, the district’s highest individual honor, was given to Debbie Harvey, APR. She was president of the Chicago chapter in 2012 and championed and led development of the 2012 Midwest District Conference in Chicago. Harvey works for the American Medical Association as the vice president of change strategies.

Thanks to the Southwest Missouri PRSA chapter for providing an excellent professional development opportunity!

To see tweets from the conference, search Twitter using the hashtag #prsamdc.

Brant Skogrand, APR, MBC, is the immediate past chair of the PRSA Midwest District, a past president of Minnesota PRSA, chief communications officer of Skogrand PR Solutions, and author of the small business PR book “19 Tips for Successful Public Relations.”

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